Beaver Back Saver Device

Designed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service staff at the Sutter National Wildlife Refuge, this simple yet elegant design saves time and money by preventing beavers from blocking water control structures. This device has the potential to save wetland managers hundreds of hours a year while reducing the need to manage the beavers lethally. By implementing this low-cost co-existence strategy, we can receive the wetland habitat benefits the beavers provide while avoiding the hassles they can create.

Thousands of hours are spent each year removing beaver debris from water control structures, leaving many water managers frustrated and causing many workplace injuries. In response, OAEC WATER Institute is partnering with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to enable ranchers, agriculturalists, hunters, and wetland managers to integrate an innovative beaver co-existence device into water conveyance structure management. This device prevents worker injury and raises awareness of how to reduce conflict so that more beaver can be left on the landscape to restore degraded watersheds, recover imperiled species, and increase climate change and water supply resiliency.

Dry installation of Beaver Back Saver Device at Sutter National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo: Brock Dolman, OAEC)

Wet installation of the Beaver Back Saver Device at Roosevelt Ranch. (Photo: Brock Dolman, OAEC)

A major goal of this project is to make this novel strategy widely known and easily implemented by diverse stakeholders that own, manage, and use California’s wetlands. We are grateful to have early adopters, like Roosevelt Ranch, piloting this technique and sharing the results with their networks. Given the high number of beaver killed by frustrated landowners and managers every year, this project will help prevent worker injury, resolve hundreds of conflicts, and allow beaver to continue to provide critical, climate change-resilient wetland habitat.

Click here to download a printer-friendly, two-page summary of the device.

Check out our video explaining the project and demonstrating its installation in both wet and dry conditions:

For those with visual impairments, we have created an accessible version (508 compliant) that can be found by clicking here.

Here’s what our Sacramento Valley partners are saying:

“Beavers are working all night long and we’re working all morning long to clean up after them. This Back Saver saves us an hour of labor a day—that’s half a day of labor each week. It helps us build better habitat and continue our mission of conservation.”
—James Rathjen, Manager of Roosevelt Ranch

“Beavers are a huge challenge for us. We’ve had lots of workers going out on workman’s comp because of the physical stress of pulling out beaver plugs. This Back Saver eliminates that.”
—Jacob Byers, Sutter National Wildlife Refuge

Click here for details on how to make and install a Beaver Back Saver device.